John Wick: Chapter 2

Musical Score By: Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard

Songs By: Ciscandra Nostalghia, Le Castle Vania and Jerry Cantrell

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Taking place four days after the original film, John Wick: Chapter 2 finds former assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) on the run with a bounty on his head.  Forced out of retirement by a blood oath shared with a former associate whose plot is to gain control of the international assassins’ guild, John travels to Rome where he faces off against some of the world’ deadliest killers.

                The John Wick Chapter 2 Soundtrack features songs by Ciscandra Nostalghia, Le Castle Vania and Jerry Cantrell, with musical score by the composing team of Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard.  A composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Tyler Bates has created musical score for film, television and video games.  Some of his projects include Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Guardians of the Galaxy, Rob Zombie's Halloween, God of War Ascension, Californication and Kingdom.  Beginning at the age of twelve with the purchase of an electric guitar and a four-track recorder, Joel J, Richard’s passion for music has grown.  Having toured with bands in the New York hard rock scene, he has harnessed this experience for use in his musical scores for such notable projects as Fallen, The Andromeda Strain, Compound Fracture, Quantico and No Evil.  Bates and Richard teamed up to create the score for the first John Wick film, making them the perfect choice to create musical score for the second.

                According to Joel J. Richard, “Chad [Stahelski, director] wanted an Italian influence for the Rome storyline which inspired the use of cello, mandolin, operatic vocals; and in one instance the incorporation of elements from Vivaldi.  It was a matter of finding instrumentation and a musical language that alluded to Italy's rich musical history while working within the gritty and modern sound of John Wick.”  Tyler Bates says, “The new film pulls no punches, weapons, or fighting techniques, which required the music to change gears and tone at every turn. It's completely insane.  Joel introduced an element of opera to the score that really makes the dark sense of humor (buried in the floor with John's weapons and coins) rather apparent.”

                I thoroughly enjoyed the John Wick Soundtrack, so I couldn’t wait to listen to the soundtrack of John Wick: Chapter 2.  One might think that the sequel’s soundtrack would be a tad disappointing?  That maybe the composers couldn’t come up with anything better?  Well, I am happy to say that these guys outdid themselves this time around.  The score is electric all the way with rocking guitar riffs, synths and percussion.  John Wick’s theme still has that grim determination feel and action tracks feature this theme in a much faster pace.  Quieter tracks feature synths and ominous electronic sounds and reverb, signaling danger or darker goings on. 

The songs are just as hardcore as the score.  My favorite has to be A Job to Do, performed by Alice in Chains vocalist and guitarist Jerry Cantrell.  The song perfectly encapsulates everything that is John Wick and that hook: “I see you / Just another job to do” performed by one of the greatest hard rock vocalists of the last three decades – awesome!

Once again, I would caution against listening to the John Wick: Chapter 2 Soundtrack while driving – that hard rock score coupled with the songs will bring about the need for speed.  But if you are looking for an adrenaline-pumper of a soundtrack, then you need to check out this album!  You definitely won’t be disappointed.


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